Not Always What They Seem

I recently read a news story about an 18 year old Lakewood man who was robbed and shot on Detroit Ave. near West 52nd Street. The victim was rushed to MetroHealth Medical Center paralyzed from the chest down. I discovered this story on the front page of the LakewoodBuzz, Lakewood’s local online nonprofit news publication. Members can blog about any topic they choose, and very often engage in heated conversations.

There were several posts relating to this news story, one which left me a little steamed. One opinionated member expressed his feelings by making references to the shooters as   being “savages” and “scum” thanks to the welfare system, and that the underclass believe that they have the right to “unlimited reproduction.” The writer also believes that it should be mandatory for teenage girls to receive the depro provera shot until age 18, and that violence in videos and music are also to blame.

Perhaps the creator of the blog is partly correct but until the perpetrators are caught, we will not know if they are truly part of the “underclass” or what their backgrounds are. I feel that making  blanket statements is unfair. Not everyone from a lower socioeconomic level is a criminal or is using the welfare system to enlarge their family.

I happen to know of an  organization that is dedicated to empowering women(African American in most cases) by teaching them parenting skills and other necessary skills so that they can make better decisions for themselves and their children. Because the participants are homeless and have no resources, a group of churches known as Interfaith Hospitality Network open their doors and take turns providing meals and a place to sleep at night. It is an opportunity for more fortunate member in the community to give back in the form of volunteerism, and for the Guests as they are respectfully called, to feel good about themselves and to know that not everyone thinks that they are scum. Name calling is unproductive; getting to know a person and their personal history helps to create open-mindedness and lessens the effects that stereotypes have on groups of people.

Based on personal involvement,the families who receive this help could easily be considered “underclass”, but not all of them are interested in maintaining the violent lifestyle or hare times that engulf the on a daily basis.

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